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Apr 28th
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Home Holy Week

Holy Week

Easter in Pakistan

Fr Colm Murphy tells of Pakistan’s Christians and why Holy Week has a special significance for them.

Some years ago, on a visit to northern Burma, I met a German Sister, a theologian, who had come to give courses to the local clergy. Such courses were common in the territories formerly entrusted to the Columbans, due to Burma’s isolation from the rest of the world since the years immediately following the Second Vatican Council. They were part of a necessary updating of the local diocesan Church.

The Church in Pakistan
The German Sister had hoped that, at least in that diocese in north Burma, there would be as many men as women at Sunday Mass. She was disappointed to find that, even there, women far outnumbered the men in the congregation. Unfortunately it did not strike me at the time to suggest that she go to Pakistan. There certainly she would find as many men as women at Mass.


It's not over yet...

It's not over yet...

Some years ago Columban missionary Brendan Lovett wrote a series of reflections for each day of Holy Week.

These reflections were published in a book called "It's not over yet.."

You can read the first of these reflections by going here, and you can use the new Holy Week menu item above left to access the other daily reflections.

You can also view a video reflection on Holy Week by the former Archbishop of Caterbury Rowan Williams here  and read about an account of the importance of  Holy Week in Pakistan by Columban Colm Murphy here


Rowan Williams On Holy Week

The former  Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams recorded a  thoughtful video reflection on the meaning of Holy Week.  In his introduction he says:

"In all sorts of ways Holy Week really is the most important week in the Christian year because it's a week when we discover in a way we don't at any other time just we are and just who God is. And we do this in the worship of the Church in very dramatic ways, the whole long tradition of the ceremonies and liturgies of Holy Week is meant to take us through a journey. We begin with identifying ourselves with the people who welcomed Jesus on Palm Sunday. We bless palms and palm crosses, we wave them around, we shout Hosanna, and for that moment we are the people on the first Palm Sunday were glad to see Jesus and welcomed him in. And then during the week we have to come to terms with the fact that when Jesus actually does arrive in Jerusalem he turns out not to be so welcome after all and we have to ask ourselves, 'What about us?'"


Saturday - Let God Easter in Us

We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down, And ask of thee forgiveness:
so we'll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news;
and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins;
who's in, who's out;
And take upon's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies.
Shakespeare's King Lear


Friday - Kissing Evil On the Lips

Friday - Kissing Evil On the Lips

We for our part have crossed over from death to life; this we know because we love our brothers and sisters.

I Jn. 3:13

The Christian focus on the Cross has nothing to do with tragic consciousness. It is not a sick pre-occupation with negativity in the place of an allegedly healthy involvement with life. It is the fruit of the deepest concern for life.



Thursday - Dying we Live

In truth, in very truth I tell you, a grain of wheat remains a solitary grain unless it falls into the ground and dies; but if it dies, it bears a rich harvest. The man who loves himself is lost, but he who hates himself in this world will be kept safe for eternal life ...

During supper, Jesus, well aware that the Father had entrusted everything to him ... rose from table, laid aside his garments, and taking a towel, tied it round him. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash his disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel.

John 12.24-25; 13:3-5


Wednesday - Sign of our Hope

In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the skirt of his robe filled the temple . About him were attendant Seraphim ...
And, as each One called, the threshold shook to its foundations, while the house was filled with smoke. Then I cried, Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell among a people of unclean lips; yet with these eyes I have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.
Then one of the seraphims flew to me carrying in his hand a glowing coal which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs - He touched my mouth with it and said, See, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is removed, and Your sin is wiped away.
Then I heard the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? Who will go for me? And I answered, Here am I; send me. He said, Go and tell this people: You listen and listen, but you will not understand. You may look and look again, but you will never know.
Isaiah 6:1-9


Tuesday - The Mystery of Evil

The men who were guarding Jesus mocked at him. They beat him, they blindfolded him, and they kept asking him, 'Now, Prophet, who hit you? Tell us that.' And so they went an heaping insults upon him.

There were two others with him, criminals who were being led away to execution; and when they reached the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, and the criminals with him, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing'.

Luke 22:63-65;23:32-34


Monday - A Crucified God

This doctrine of the cross is sheer folly to those on their way to ruin, but to us who are on the way to salvation it is the power of God. Jews call for miracles, Greeks look for wisdom; but we proclaim Christ - yes, Christ nailed to the cross; and though this is a stumbling-block to Jews and folly to Greeks, yet to those who have heard his call, Jews and Greeks alike, he is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1Cor. 1:18,23-24

What is demanded of us is honesty. The world has not changed in two thousand years. Event for event, you can find in our contemporary world perfect parallels to every moment in this Gospel story of the Passion. But this is difficult for us to admit.

Missionaries -  we're just trying to match the generosity of those with whom we work and those who support us.

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